Grinding The Rugby Safari 7s Axe

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Guest post by Ken Mutua

The last couple of days have been a sort of smoke and mirrors for the rugby fraternity in Kenya . I knew shit had hit the roof when I saw a tweef between the Passionate former sevens Coach Mike Friday and the current tactician Paul Treu . For those who have no idea what l am talking about here are the tweets

“@ Mikefriday09:Reading KRU press release &there are 12 players with 2 year contracts with no performance review so why these been cancelled? #Smoke&Mirrors”

Three days later Paul Treu replied in a not polite way

“@paultreu: @MikeFriday09 Mike, you are forcing me to send you a public tweet, a first and last.  Keep your nose out of our business.”

This has escalated to the Media theatrics leading to axing of eight senior players after allegedly going on strike. What the public do not know is that more were to be chopped but to save face a few faces had to be retained. Kenya Rugby Union has alleged that players do not want to be accountable for their performance.  It is laughable right; I have issues with this statement.  If players’ contracts were not renewed because of performance then it means the team was a failure.

Eight players have been axed out of twelve then the team failed Kenya. If there was failure, every person should their blame. We succeed as a team and fail as a team. So it beats logic why one Paul Treu is in office if his team failed? Are we curing the root cause of the disease or treating symptoms?  The office of National squads should long have gone, don’t you think so?

Critics have argued that the players are greedy and do not care about the nation. These are players who have sacrificed their jobs and education at times to play for the team. If that is not utmost care then I don’t know what that is. But in any case, why would they care about a nation that does not give them medical insurance, pays them late and when they rise to speak, they are regarded as unpatriotic. Greed here is a good thing. See, rugby is a game you play and ignore injuries, just so that your nation’s flag shines. Calling the sacrifce of these players unpatriotic is an insult to that word.

Rugby is a semi-professional sport and everyday you pull on a jersey you risk a life threatening injury, so players go ahead and play for pride. When you are injured people words of encouragement will pay you medical bills, take care of your family and your survival.

Kenya Rugby Union office should develop rugby and not politics.  Just like political parties and politicians in Kenya, they cannot handle criticism and dissenting opinion. The easiest way for them has always been booting the dissenting voice. Remember Philip Jalang’o saga? Mike Friday was subject to similar tactics.  Now players are facing the same ordeal. It is a matter of fact that players have not been paid and that is what guys are agitating for. We cannot have the same issues dogging us year after year.

The Chair spoke of players being provided with medical insurance that is a good move to fool people. If that is the truth why did we witness drama about Khayange .

Safaricom sevens will be staged over the weekend.  We have three teams representing Kenya. Congratulations to those who have taken over the mantle. There are questions about this selection. I might be wrong but I might be right in asking this. Where do we draw the line between sevens and fifteens rugby? If we are serious as a nation that harbors intentions of playing at the world cup why are we shuffling some of our best fifteens players to the shorter version. It is supposed to be the other way. I am intrigued by how we are looking at the moment and forgetting about the long term future.  Why are Oliver Mang’eni and the rest of the lads in that team instead of working towards fifteens glory?

Still on selection, there is a chairman select team which is touted as a development team.

Well no offence but now Gibson Weru is coaching Chairman’s select team! The team has the likes of Nato Simiyu, who is experienced more than the other?  Who has enjoyed more success than the other? Who has many badges than the other? To add salt to injury you have Curtis Olago as the assistant coach!! For Christ sake this guy has won the sevens circuit two consecutive seasons, how is he not the head coach? This team has players who played a single leg of the circuit, kwani how good were they that the selectors overlooked those who played the entire circuit?  It is a mystery to me and to you I bet.

My two cents of this matter is it’s more than contracts, its failure on part of Kenya Rugby Union, Paul Treu, and the national selectors. Its time Treu was told to his face, you are wrong. I respect what you have done with Blitzbokke but this is Kenya7s. Kenya rugby is about flair and not defense. We are not developing the sport. Progress is impossible without fair play and if Kenya Rugby Union cannot change their minds then we are going in circles with the same issues.

Kusema ukweli, I am lamenting three-fold: As a Kenyan, rugby fan and as a man. So when this Treu bloke implies to the world that akina Injera this beloved nation are greedy rebels, he offends my sensibilities as a Kenyan. When he removes them from the national squad for speaking out against injustices, he offends me as a rugby fan. And when he goes ahead and ignores the plight of the human beings he is supposed to cater for, he offends morality itself…and I take it personally as a man.

It would be a great insult to human nature to understand why coach Treu and the rugby union are acting this way. But it is even greater outrage for us to tolerate it.  It’s time to start grinding the axe.

Despite all this fiasco, I still hope that Team Kenya wins the Safari 7s series. Do not support Team Kenya for the union or for the new boss. Lets support our own because we care about the black, red, white and green colours more than the Union cares for our players.

Game inatuneed.

© Mutua K. Mutuku
A patriotic Kenyan rugby die hard


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